Patterns and building blocks
is the most important function by position and size. It is always displayed in a very central zone. On some websites it even spans the entire screen like Amazon.
are displayed in a similar fashion which in turn creates user expectations. The users expect a certain behavior and layout.
is always one-click away, easy to read and directly accessible. Usual placement in on the left side of the results.
is placed above the results and usually on the right side it offers the possibility of sorting the results by price, rating or other criteria
3 Types of search
The user knows the exact name of the product he/she is looking for.
solutions: autocomplete, good site structure
The user knows how the product looks or maybe the brand but he/she forgot the exact name. Also the user is aware of the category the product might be into.
solutions: good filtering of results, autocomplete, brand suggestions, category suggestion
Users are not looking for something in particular but they simply want to buy something interesting.
solutions: display sales and promotions on front-page, new products suggestions, exploratory filtering (like color), trends visualization
Evaluating the current solution
search is placed in a marginal position to the right giving it less visibility
Filtering is less optimal to use. It needs at minimum 3 clicks to operate. Users stare at the screen expecting that something happens.
Filters are sometimes duplicated on the top and on the right side. Users are confused about the difference.
The results area is smaller that it could be. The area above the results is occupied by filters and the layout does not take advantage of the wide screens of most computers.